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Councillor Pat Burke: Councillor Pat Burke said that the new census figures weren't considered before the restrictions were produced.

Census implications for Clare county development plan

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WORK is ongoing on a new county development plan, which will have strict limits on the amount of houses that can be built in Clare, despite the burgeoning population.

In the past six years the county’s population has increased by 7.2%, with the amount of housing units going up by just 4.2%.

For the upcoming county development plan, which is set to cover the period 2023-2029, Clare is set to be restricted to just having 4,500 new houses.

These will largely be in urban parts of the county and it is something that many of the councillors feel is far too restrictive.

Councillor Pat Burke said that the new census figures weren’t considered before the restrictions were produced.

“Under the county development plan, up to now anyway, there was no mention of taking these figures into consideration.”

He said that the growth in population is only seen in certain areas of Clare.

“It’s definitely not in the rural areas. Private developers are building in places like Ennis, Quin, Tulla, Crusheen, maybe places like Kilmaley, but when you go out to the peripheries there is nothing happening.”

The new County Development Plan has not been passed yet, and he said the census figures will certainly be raised in the coming weeks.

“It doesn’t tie into the county development plan at all and the Office of the Planning Regulator doesn’t seem to have waited for the results. When we get going in July again we’ll definitely be raising that issue.”

Councillor PJ Kelly said there is definitely a need for a rethink, given the census findings.

“The whole thing will have to be revised. As well as that I think the whole thing of an allocation is legally wrong.”

He said major changes are now required.

“It’s going to have a big impact on the county development plan, there’s no doubt about it. The air will have to be cleared about how the issue of allocation is going to be defined. The only other places I’ve come across population control are China and North Korea.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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